“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:17-19a
Enlightened hearts. Here in Ephesians, it is Paul’s prayer that the eyes of their hearts be enlightened. But what does it mean to be enlightened?
The word “enlightened” in the Greek here is phōtízō. Its root is phōs, or “light”. According to the Discovery Bible (my favorite study tool!), phōtízō is God sharing His life which exposes and overcomes darkness, like the ignorance (prejudice) caused by sin.
Matthew 6:22 says, “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light“
The idea of “enlighten” is to receive from out side of yourself from a light source. Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ John 8:12 Jesus is the source of all true light. When we want true enlightenment, we need to walk towards the true light – Jesus.
Paul teaches us in his prayer for the Ephesians that we need to pray for God himself to enlighten us or to “shine” his revelation into our hearts by his Holy Spirit. Jesus is the light. When he lights our spirits, our hearts, our minds, we receive spiritual light and spiritual sight.
Helps Word Studies says this, “Ephesians 3:9: “And to bring to light (5461/phōtízō) what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things” (NASB).
God grants faith to enlighten (illuminate) “blind spots” – even the dark premises (misguided presuppositions) that drive our many “miss-the-mark-conclusions”!
Reflection: The Lord “wakes us up” to know the depths of our sin (darkness, blind spots) by inbirthing faith (“divine persuasion, 4102/pístis). Indeed, we don’t know that we don’t know . . . until faith awakens. Accordingly, the Psalmist declares, “In Your light, we see light” (Ps 36:9).
Psalm 97:10-12 Hate evil, you who love the Lord,
Who preserves the souls of His godly ones;
He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown like seed for the righteous
And gladness for the upright in heart.
Be glad in the Lord, you righteous ones,
And give thanks to His holy name. (NASB)
Part of being enlightened with the truth from God’s Word is to read it in context. We need to hear all that he is saying. Enlightenment will shine light into all of our dark places and reveal sin. This is not to bring shame, but to bring light, redemption and healing. God sows his “seeds of light” for those who seek to walk in righteousness. Those seeds produce a harvest of light that shines in our lives.
Prayer for enlightenment.
“Lord, I need your truth to light my darkness. Jesus, light of the world, enlighten my heart. Good Father, I want to know you better. I want to be filled with your light. I want truth to overcome the darkness in my life. Sow seeds of light into my life. I want the purest truth and the greatest light – the light of Jesus – who died and rose again – to shine in my heart. May hope, power and redemption fill my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
For more on learning to walk in the revelation of God’s Spirit, check out my book Revealed in Ephesians: The Mystery of Who I Am in Christ. http://briananei.com Also, free YouTube teachings and podcasts are available at https://briananei.com/home-page/podcastvideos/